Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Hatam Sofer's Humor

For Nachi and Matt and their love of noses.

I heard the following from Dr. Leiman. In the Hatam Sofer's yeshiva in Pressburg, it was the custom for all to wear hats while learning. This included fairly young boys. One day a ba'al ha'bus (a community member not part of the Yeshiva) came in and saw a young boy learning. As he was a youngster, his hat was a bit oversized. The ba'al ha'bus went over to him and said "Shalom aleichem Hat, where is the bucher [boy]." The boy turned around and was rather disturbed by this insult, noticed the man's rather prominent nose. The boy replied, "Shalom aleichem Nose where is the ba'al ha'bus." This reply incensed the ba'al ha'bus and he immediately went to the Hatam Sofer to complain.

The Hatam Sofer called the boy over to hear his side of the story. The boy explained he was minding his own business when this person made a comment about his hats size to which he just replied in kind. Upon hearing this, the Hatam Sofer responded, using a verse from this week's Torah portion (Det. 29:23), if this is so, "מה חרי האף הגדול הזה." (A play on words to mean "what anger [spite] this great nose displays.")

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